Boyle's Baker, Elks learning together

August 25, 2004|MIKE MARSEE

STANFORD - One girl followed her father and grandfather to the links at an early age; the other was coaxed onto the course by her coach. Together, the two seniors form the foundation for a Boyle County team that is seemingly shaving strokes from its score by the day.

Amber Baker and Stephanie Elks, two of the Rebels' three seniors, said they have already seen signs that this is a different team than it was a year ago.

"It's going to be a lot better than it was last year," Baker said. "I'm sure we'll all end up doing better, and hopefully we'll do well at region."

The Boyle girls know they still have a ways to go. Their four-person score of 200 in Tuesday's match at Dix River Country Club left them 27 strokes behind host Lincoln County but 34 ahead of Mercer County.


"This team definitely has potential," Boyle coach Arin Leber said. "I've told them that all spring and summer."

Leber said the team's two veterans are at the heart of it all.

"They've been wonderful leaders," Leber said. "They're really encouraging to the younger girls; they're always willing to help out."

Apparently the two girls have been quite helpful to each other. Elks said she has followed the lead of Baker, who is Boyle's No. 1 player and who was on the team for three years before her.

"She's really dedicated," Elks said. "She can be awesome when she stays focused, and she's encouraged me a whole lot."

Baker has high praise for Elks as well.

"She's gotten a lot better this year versus last year, and playing with her has improved my game," Baker said.

Baker, who was exposed to golf by her father and grandfather, joined the team as a seventh-grader and started playing regularly the next year. Elks came out as a sophomore at the urging of Leber, who had coached her freshman basketball team.

"We needed a fourth, and I just went through the list of sophomores," Leber said. "Stephanie was the first one, and she said she'd played some par-3."

Bibb helping both players

Both Elks and Baker said they have gotten good advice in lessons with Peninsula Golf Resort professional Mike Bibb, and both players said they have improved their distance off the tee during practice. Baker is shooting in the mid to upper 40s, while Elks' scores average in the low 50s.

"I need to work on my chipping and putting," Baker said, citing chipping problems on her final hole Tuesday that led to three extra strokes and a double-bogey 6. "I kept looking up when I was chipping, and it got me."

Elks said she is still searching for consistency.

"The last two matches my drives haven't been good but my putting has been good. Today my putts were not good but my driving was," she said. "Once I get it all together, by region hopefully I'll be good."

The Boyle roster features another improving player in sophomore Carolann Buchanan, whose scores have also fallen considerably since last season.

"I think she's just got a natural talent," Leber said. "She was probably in the upper 50s at the start of last year, and the last couple of matches she's been in the 40s."

Rounding out the roster are first-year player Catherine Rowland, the team's other senior, and eighth-grader Kelsey Joslyn.

"We're all really close," Elks said. "We work with each other and help each other during practice."

Atwood leads Lincoln

Logan Atwood shot 39 to lead Lincoln to a team score of 173 and the victory in Tuesday's match. Kandis Noe and Kristina Rankin each shot 43 for Lincoln.

Baker led Boyle with a 45, while Tracy McClain shot the same score to lead Mercer.


At Dix River C.C., Stanford

BOYLE COUNTY (200) - Amber Baker 45, Carolann Buchanan 46, Stephanie Elks 52, Kelsey Joslyn 57, Catherine Rowland 70.

MERCER COUNTY (234) - Tracy McClain 45, Samantha Sanders 58, Hilary Ransdell 61, Allison Perrin 70.

LINCOLN COUNTY (173) - Logan Atwood 39, Kandis Noe 43, Kristina Rankin 43, Lindsey Jones 48, Ashton Gooch 48, Lindsey Rankin 51.

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